How to CookAvocado

The Other, Smarter (?) Way to Cut an Avocado

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I know that there exist plenty of ways to keep an avocado from browning.

But have I ever used one? Nope.

Instead, I slice open my avocado—down the center, slipping the knife around the pit like I came out of the womb knowing how to do—and try to consume it as quickly as possible.

Three seconds later, these perfect avocados turned brown.
Three seconds later, these perfect avocados turned brown. Photo by James Ransom

Well, it turns out that there's an easier way to reduce the amount of green flesh that browns—no lemon juice, onion, or olive oil required—but it requires forgetting everything you've ever learned about life avocados.

Instead of slicing your avocado down the center, slice it crosswise, to make avocado rings.

This may seem unnatural to you—but stick with me!
This may seem unnatural to you—but stick with me!

I first saw this slicing method when my brother cut the hat off of his avocado, then proceeded to hack off puny little ring-shaped cross sections. (He claims to have thought of this technique himself, which only increased my skepticism.)

I considered this method an abomination of nature until I could no longer argue with the evidence of its value:

  1. First and foremost, there's less browning. Less surface area of avocado exposed to the air equals less oxidation, which means there's only a small, thin layer of browned flesh to scrape away.
  2. Have exactly how much you want. Each slice of avocado has less flesh, which means it's easier to get exactly the portion you're looking for. (When I cut an avocado the other way, I feel obligated to eat at least half, even if my piece of toast can sustain only 1/4 or 1/3.)
  3. And it's easily spoonable in your desired quantity. Use a small spoon to scoop out as much avocado as you'd like, leaving the skin intact to create a sort of avocado cave, inside which the precious flesh is protected.
  4. Cubing is possible; mashing is easy. You can still get avocado cubes using this method. Cut off a ring, slit the skin and peel it away from the flesh, then cube. And it's even easier to mash your avocado (which is often its destiny anyway): Using a spoon to scoop out chunks gets it halfway there.
The bottom left ring (slightly browned) was the top cross section of the avocado.
The bottom left ring (slightly browned) was the top cross section of the avocado.

This is not to say there is no reason to cut avocados the "normal" way: It's the best method for achieving beautiful wedges for salads (though, I'd argue that I just end up cutting these wedges into cubes anyway) and natural bowls for filling with quinoa or beans or vinaigrette.

But sometimes we should defy what we've been taught! We should go rogue, cut our avocados into cross-sections, and stymie their swift demise!

And all this has me wondering: What other vegetables could we be slicing smarter?

This article originally ran in 2015, but there's no time like the present to examine avocado cutting technique!

Is this a very smart or a very silly way to cut an avocado? Tell me in the comments below!

Tags: Vegetable, Tips & Techniques, Ingredients